Contact: Paul Lewis
Virginia-based Subterracon Films releases its first feature-length documentary, It Was the
Nightingale: The Unreliable Story of Ford Madox Ford, Novemeber 30, 2016
Subterracon Films is set to release its first feature-length documentary on the life and work of Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), the author of more than eighty books, including the
masterpieces Parade’s End and The Good Soldier. This is the first feature film ever produced on Ford.
Title: It Was the Nightingale: The Unreliable Story of Ford Madox Ford
Genre: Feature Documentary
Running time: 97 Mins.
Producer/Director: Paul Lewis
Known as a ‘writer’s writer’, Ford collaborated with Joseph Conrad, and was a life-long and tireless promoter of talented younger authors, such as Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence and Jean Rhys. He founded two seminal literary magazines, the English Review and the transatlantic review, which between them changed the face of twentieth-century literature.
‘Ford Madox Ford’s name is not, perhaps, widely-recognized’, says the producer, Paul Lewis. ‘But if you are a writer or a reader of any kind, there is a good chance that what you have read or written has been in some way influenced by this extraordinary artist.’
‘As a subject, I found Ford fun, surprising, inspirational, complex, and yet straightforward in his devotion to his work and in his belief in the artist’s search for truth in that work. He was never a boring man.’
More than four years in production, It Was the Nightingale tells its story through conversation with eight distinct voices central to Ford’s current revival, painting a living impression of the man who remains something of a literary enigma. With never-before-seen and original visual and audio elements, the film takes the viewer on a cinematic and documentary journey of a man at the heart of modern western letters — beginning in turn-of-the century London and the Sussex countryside, it moves to Paris and Provence, and concludes in the jazz-age bustle of New York City, before and after the Great Depression.
‘Ford’s personality and writing are surprisingly modern to those who come to know him’, says Mr. Lewis. ‘He overcame life-long struggles in health and relative poverty to write his books and develop other major literary talents. This film will matter to audiences of all ages, especially those who believe in literature and its importance to contemporary living.’
Over the last twenty years, there has been a growing popular and academic revival of interest in Ford’s life and work. One popular success was the HBO/BBC produced adaptation of Parade’s End (2012) scripted by Tom Stoppard and featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. It is understood that a new film of his novel The Good Soldier is currently in the works, an update to that produced in 1983, starring Jeremy Brett.
Envisioned, directed and produced by filmmaker Paul Lewis, in collaboration with Director of
Photography Ryan Poe, and Sound Designer Kelley Baker, the film features interviews with Hermine Ford, Mary Gordon, Dr. Sara Haslam, Alan Judd, Dr. Seamus O’Malley, Prof. Max Saunders, Dr. Paul Skinner, and Prof. Joseph Wiesenfarth. The film aims to create an educational and documentary understanding of Ford, while also succeeding as an accessible cinematic entertainment for all ages.